An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

June 28, 2012

River Morning

Today is the first day of my summer vacation, and I could think of nothing more fitting than to start it with an early morning paddle on the Lafayette.  The wind was absent, the temperatures cool, and I nearly had the river to myself. I am sure there will be pictures of other places coming soon, but for now enjoy some of what I saw this morning while the rest of the city was rushing off to work.

Tidewater Morning (2)

Broken Dock

Boat Barm


Mimosa Blur 2 copy


Great Egret (2)

Bird on Bricks

Bird on a Pole

26th St. Bridge

June 27, 2012

Conflict and Resolution in the Academic Village

The big news in Virginia the past few weeks has come from Charlottesville on the normally stable campus at the University of Virginia.  The president, Teresa Sullivan, was forced to resign without clear cause after only two years at her post, a superlatively short term. Leading the effort to oust her was head of the Board of Visitors, Helen Dragas, Virgina Beach real estate developer and UVA alumna.  I don't pretend to know what the entire issue entails, but I believe it to boil down to two differing visions for the university.  After a chaotic couple of weeks, and an outcry of support for Sullivan, she was reinstated on Tuesday, with pledges of unity from both sides.

I often play a game of what-if while I daydream.  What if  Mr. Jefferson (it's never Geo. Washington, always Jefferson) was to magically visit the 21st century for an hour or two, and it was my job to chauffer him around answering questions as best I could. First of all he would probably be frightened to death at the speed we travel, he might even get carsick.  With all the suburban sprawl and urbanization, I am sure his vision of the United States as an agriculturally based society would be out the window. I think he would also likely find the changes in race and class very uncomfortable.  And what would he think about the recent news from his university - I am sure his first reaction would be "women, why are there women here?".

(Here is a link to Bloomberg for a more complete story,)

June 19, 2012

The Flooded Cathedral

Earlier in the month we enjoyed a visit from our friends the Sherpa Girls.  Always up for an outing, I knew they would enjoy a chance to kayak on Merchants Millpond in North Carolina, and that it would be unlike anyplace two Colorado girls could experience along the Front Range.  The millpond was formed about 200 years ago as an economic venture, and through a very generous gift is now a state park.  The word pond might give you the wrong impression as it is covers more than 700 acres and is nearly two miles long.  A very unique ecosystem, it is abundant with plants and animals, including bobcats, bear, many snakes, turtles, numerous bird species, primitive long-nosed gar and bowfin, plus there are now resident alligators.  I asked one of the rangers about the gators, commenting that this must be the most northerly population, but she said they have also been spotted just over the border in Virginia.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) the alligators were shy the day we visited, but there was still much to see.

Eastern River Cooter (Pseudemys concinna concinna (I think))
Merchants Millpond (3)

Merchants Millpond (17)

Button Bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Merchants Millpond (18)

Merchants Millpond (10)

The Sherpa Girls
Merchants Millpond

In places there were swamp rose (Rosa palustris) petals littering the water's surface. Many of the plants found a home in the rotting trunks of trees long gone.
Rosa palustris


Merchants Millpond (22)

Merchants Millpond (29)

Common Spatterdock (Nuphar lutea ssp. advena)
Nuphar lutea ssp. advena

Merchants Millpond (21)

Your Humble Blogger

Merchants Millpond (25)

Merchants Millpond (31)

Although I did not take any pictures of it, the new visitor's center at Merchants Millpond is worth a mention. It is an LEED building that harvests its rainwater, is built with recycled materials, takes advantage of passive solar, has no-flush urinals (that do not stink), has a great view and is quite attractive. If you are interested, here is an on-line article about the building with a slide show.  This is the same building where you rent canoes and kayaks, and the Sherpas were able to enjoy 4 hours in a two-person Cadillac of a kayak for a mere pittance of $14.  Bargains like this are few these days.

Merchants Millpond (23)

Merchants Millpond (32)

Merchants Millpond (30)

The pond can be lovely at night too.
Night Sky

Normally when I make time for church it is a solitary affair, occasionally a dog may join, but it was nice to have some company in the cathedral.

June 15, 2012

Bloom Day: Two Flies in the Ointment

This month's Bloom Day has been kind of odd here at A Tidewater Gardener.  On the one hand, an extremely mild winter and abundant recent rains have meant that I have a lot to show right now.  On the other hand, parts of my garden are a mess.  Sometime in early May work began on my street replacing perfectly good, 100 year-old granite curbing so that the corners comply with ADA guidelines (I will not say what I think about this).  I called the contractor to find out how long I had to get my plants moved, and was told about a week.  So I dug and potted everything I wanted to keep and put the plants on the porch for what I thought would be a temporary stay - that was over a month ago. Then as some of you know, there was an automobile accident in front of the house in early June, with one of the cars ending up in my garden.  When the car was pulled out, many of my plants came with it.  Why couldn't the scene of the accident and the future construction zone have been one in the same?

This has been an especially prolific spring for two of my favorite plants, hydrangeas and daylilies.  Before we look at those two, let's see what else is blooming.

Verbena bonarensis and Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'
Verbena bonarensis and Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue'

Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty'
Gardenia jasminoides 'August Beauty'

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)
Pontederia cordata

Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Echinacea purpurea

Lantana 'Miss Huff'
Lantana 'Miss Huff'

Clivia miniata
Clivia miniata

Betty Boop Rose with Red Cascade Below
Rosa 'Betty Boop'

Now some hydrangeas. First up is Annabelle (H. arborescens 'Annabelle').
Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' and Acanthus mollis

H. macrophylla 'Ayesha'
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Ayesha'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Bluebird' (2)

'Frau Kinue' (Angel Robe)
Hydrangea macrophylla 'Frau Kinue' (Angel Robe)

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Mariesii'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Sun Goddess' (2)

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Sun Goddess'

Here are the daylilies (I'll name if I know 'em). This is 'Smoky Mountain Autumn'.
Hemerocallis 'Smoky Mountain Autumn'

'Milk Chocolate'
Hemerocallis 'Milk Chocolate'

Hemerocallis (Unknown to Me) (3)

Hemerocallis (Unknown to Me)

Hemerocallis (Unknown to Me) (2)

'House of Orange'
Hemerocallis 'House of Orange'

Thank you once again to Carol of May Dreams Garden for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, held on the 15th of each month. You should pay her a visit.